Daily Reflection
July 17th, 2002
Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Chaplain, St. Joseph's Hospital
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16
Psalm 94:5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15
Matthew 11:25-27

Todayís first reading tells us that God can make use of people and events to carry out the divine plan, even when their intentions are in themselves unrelated to Godís plan.  Clearly (and admittedly in the reading) when the Assyrian ruler implements Godís plan, what he achieves ďis not what he intends,Ē anymore than Cyrusís intention in repatriating the exiled Jews was to further the divine plan or that Caesar Augustusí intention in decreeing a census was to have Maryís child be born in Bethlehem of Judea.  But the vision of faith operative in Scripture recognizes those actions as part of Godís plan.

The vision of faith does not change the data of experience, which are there for anyone óbeliever or unbelieveró to see.  But it changes us and, in so doing, it changes the way we read those data and, consequently, the way we respond to them.  Faced with a scattering of dots on a white page, we are probably at a loss trying to find meaning in them.  But if we place on the page an overlay with the outline of the United States and the interstate boundary lines drawn on it, we suddenly recognize some dots as Boston, New Orleans, Seattle, etc.  The vision of faith, while not identical with the above overlay, is not totally unlike it either in that it helps us to find faith meaning in the sometimes scattered data of our life experiences.

Perhaps that is why in todayís gospel reading Jesus says that ďalthough you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike.Ē  Human wisdom and learning alone are not the proper overlay to recognize Godís plan in the data of experience.  Single-heartedness, trust, and an awareness of Godís love and of our dependence on Godís goodness are the right overlay.  And those are childlike (not the same as childish) characteristics.

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